Nottingham-based firm Hillarys are enjoying the results of taking on six apprentices with a view to them becoming future team leaders.

The company, which makes made-to-measure blinds, curtains and shutters, contacted Vision Apprentices to help them to recruit the apprentices to bring new skills and talent to the workforce which has been thriving since 1971.

The specialist recruitment team at Vision Apprentices – a subsidiary of Vision West Nottinghamshire College – met with the management team to discuss their needs for the intake of apprentices. Vision Apprentices then worked closely with Jobcentre Plus to recruit to six tailored vacancies.

After the selection process a recruitment event was held at Vision Apprentices’ Canal Street premises in Nottingham to prepare the successful candidates for applying for the positons at Hillarys.

Literacy and numeracy assessments were set to ensure the six candidates were up to speed with their functional skills and guidance was given on performing well at interview. The process ensured that the six candidates were guaranteed an interview with Hillarys.

Today, Toby Charlesworth, Nathan Savage, Marcus Gent, Thomas Sissons, José Dias and Kieran Green are all enjoying their apprenticeships in team leading at Hillarys’ Colwick-based production headquarters.

The candidates, who were all previously unemployed, also learned more about what the job and apprenticeship programme involved by visiting Hillarys prior to beginning their work and training.

Manufacturing manager Kevin Salmon said: “It’s often hard to find people with the right skills for this industry, so we decided to bring employees in at a lower level and train them up into management roles.

“Vision Apprentices helped with the first interview screening and we brought theapplicants in for an assessment day to test their skills. We build a lot of our own equipment here so we dismantled some machines and asked candidates to build them up again. It helped us to see what skills each person had."

Manufacturing manager Kevin Salmon said: “Our six new apprentices have a great mix of skills and fit in really well with the business and our needs and I have every confidence in them.”

The apprenticeship, which will take 12-18 months to complete, will give the six an opportunity to progress within the company.

Team leader apprentice Jose Dias, 24, said: “I’m really enjoying it here. I’m getting on much better than I expected. Before coming to Hillarys I was unemployed and before that my job was a picker and packer.

“This role is much more rewarding and I’m getting trained up while I work - it’s great. I’d love to continue working here and to be promoted in the future.”

Marcus Gent, 21, said: “It’s a really friendly atmosphere and I’m enjoying every minute of it. I found the role through the job centre advert and just gave it a go. The preapprenticeship programme got me feeling more confident and secure before the interview. I’d like to succeed on the apprenticeship and give it a year and aim for being a supervisor one day.”

To find out more about the benefits of taking on an apprentice, call us on 0800 121 8317